I had been telling everyone for a month that baby would be born on the 15th August after a dream I had. My due date of 13th August came & went without even a twinge. I woke up on the 14th with a pain that I just knew was a mild contraction, it wasn’t painful but felt different to the Braxton hicks that I had so regular. I was quite anxious to see if I would have any more that day. I did have a couple more but they were very spaced apart with no particular pattern or lasting any particular length of time. I decided to take Alfie over to my mums at Sheffield, a 20-30 minute drive away, I had bought a breast pump off a lady on FB & I wanted to go pick it up. I went about 10am & on the drive over I had a few pains & I did wonder whether it was a good idea that I be over that way.
When I go to my mums I told her that I was having pains that I knew were contractions but they wasn’t too painful or in any set pattern. We talked about the labour she had with my younger brother, she was contracting all the day before & didn’t have my brother until the afternoon the next day so I was thinking I had ages yet.
After a cup of tea & an excited chat about the baby & the labour we went to pick up the breast pump which wasn’t too far away from my mums. Afterwards we decided to go & have a walk round Costco, all the while I was contracting. They wasn’t any worse pain wise than period pains but definitely felt different, having had one labour I knew they were the real thing. We had some lunch in the cafe & then headed over to Asda to pick up a couple of bits for tea.
I went back to my mums for a bit & my sister, Joanne, phoned to see if I had any pains (she had been phoning every few days lol) & I told her that I was indeed having pains. She got all excited & said I should time them now to see if there was any pattern which there wasn’t but I was noticing the peaks getting stronger.
An hour later about half 4, I decided to set off home before the rush hour started. I told my mum I would see her later, probably be phoning her about 11pm-12am. As I was driving home I noticed that the contractions were coming every 10 minutes or so. I got a little anxious as I knew what was coming but I was excited to meet the baby & finally put an end to the guessing of what gender he or she would be.
When I got home I started cleaning & tidying & getting tea ready for Alfie. I gave Dave a call to see if he had finished work & to tell him that the baby would be coming tonight, he asked me how I knew in an anxious yet excited tone. He was in the yard & announced to everyone that it was ‘D Day’ & he had to depart! About 6.30pm my sister called again to see how I was & I told her the contractions were coming between every 5-10 minutes & lasting about 30 seconds. Alfie & I ate tea, well Alfie ate tea but I struggled to eat, the adrenalin rush I was feeling made every mouthful feel like I was eating cardboard. Dave came home & he ate tea while I tidied the kitchen & living room. I had to stop every now & again during a contraction to time it & see how intense it was. It was quite a warm evening & Dave was sat outside eating with Alfie, I could hear him talking to Alfie about what lay ahead in the next few days, about how his life was going to change so dramatically. It was lovely to hear him talk to him about being a big brother & what his role as a big brother will be.
Dave brought me the birthing pool down & I brought down what I needed for the home birth, trying to make sure I had plenty of towels & that everything was going to be perfect. I asked Dave to bath Alfie & put him to bed while I inflated & filled the birth pool. Once I got it out the box & started inflating it was then I remembered how big it actually was (we had only ever inflated it once before I had Alfie 2 years previous & I didn’t get a home birth that time so I didn’t even know how long it took to fill or where it would fit in the house). I then realised that the pool would not fit in the space I intended it to go & that the dining table would have to be moved outside. I managed to move the table to near the back door & put the chairs in the living room while I placed the pool where I wanted & continued to inflate it then fill it.
My sister phoned again at 8pm & by this point the contractions were coming every 5-7 minutes or so & lasting about 45 seconds. I told her that she should come over soon, she said she would set off to go & pick my mum up (30 minutes away from her house) & then head over. My midwife had said to me to phone hospital when the contractions were 3 minutes apart & lasting about a minute in length & because contractions were sporadically between each I thought we had plenty of time yet.
I sat & watched TV for a bit while timing the contractions, I couldn’t concentrate on the programme as I was thinking about the baby. It seemed every time I had a contraction it pressed on my bladder & it made me want the loo. I could hear my Alfie shouting for me & Dave getting a bit frustrated trying to put him to bed so I decided to go in & try & settle him myself. It was very surreal been on all 4’s on Alfie’s bedroom floor waiting for him to fall off to sleep while I had contractions coming every 5 minutes & lasting for about 45 seconds. I had to be as quiet & as calm as I could. Eventually he dropped off & I came downstairs. It was about 9.30pm & my mum, sister & 10y/o niece (who I wasn’t too happy had come) were just coming through the door. We all had a cup of tea, my OH moved the dining table outside & we watched a midwife program on bbc2. The contractions were coming between 3-5 minutes apart & getting quite intense but nothing I couldn’t handle really with breathing & sitting on the birthing ball, I was quite calm & could talk through some of them so didn’t feel too bad. I noticed that if I stayed stood the contractions were 3 minutes apart lasting just under a minute in length so my sister was trying to keep me from sitting down lol. She kept asking if I thought it was time to phone the midwife yet but I didn’t think the contractions were intense enough.
I went to the toilet & had a clear out (tmi) & the tinniest amount of plug came out. The contractions were still quite all over the place at between 3 & 5 minutes apart & I didn’t think I should phone the midwife but my sister kept on bugging me so at 10.45pm I got OH to phone labour & delivery. They asked to speak to me & were asking all sorts of questions including where was I feeling the contractions. I was feeling them mostly in my back & very intense pain in my hips with just a little pain at the bottom of my bump. They didn’t think I was in established labour yet & told me to take two paracetamol, have a warm bath & to phone back in the morning. I had a few more contractions down stairs, they suddenly got a bit more intense & I was leaning over the birthing ball quite clearly in pain. I got OH to get the aromatherapy oils out & rub my back & hips when I was having a contraction which did help. I could see my birthing pool & I really wanted to get in but didn’t dare get in until the midwife came & checked me. I decided to go & have that bath & I took the paracetamol, I wanted a bit of time to birth on my own.
As I was upstairs running the bath Alfie woke up & come in the bathroom mid-contraction, I shouted Dave to come & put him back to bed which Alfie wasn’t too happy about, I think he may have been scared & upset at seeing me in pain. I sat in the bath & the contractions seem to slow as I was sat down but were still quite intense with the pain very much in my hips. In between contractions I tried to stay in a squatting position which helped keep the contractions coming more regular. I sat down in the water when I felt the contraction coming but felt quite frustrated as I couldn’t get the water level high enough to cover all my bump or high enough to cover my hips. I think I was in the bath for about half an hour or so before I had finally had enough & got out. I got dried, put on some shorts & went down stairs. Joanne told me that she had phoned our older sister, Karen & our brother, Oliver who was driving her over. I had a few more contractions in the living room with my mum rubbing my back with the oil, Dave was still in the bedroom with Alfie & I really wanted him down stairs. The contractions were really intense & I really wanted to get in the pool.
Dave came downstairs no less that 5 minutes later & I decided that I wasn’t waiting for a midwife any longer; I wanted to get in the pool. I jumped up, took my dressing gown off, quickly put on a bikini top & told Dave to phone hospital & get the midwife here NOW! I handed Joanne my phone & asked her to work the contraction App for me, I was quite focused on the timing & length of each & it helped me prepare for the coming pain. As Dave was on the phone I had a contraction & I screamed at him to tell them to hurry up as I needed the gas & air, the pain was excruciating but still all in my hips & back. I was laid in the pool with my belly down & my legs out behind me, I could still talk between contractions quite easily & I could sense that my sister & mum were anxious & panicking a bit. Dave came off the phone from the hospital to tell me that they were on their way & wouldn’t be long. My older sister Karen arrived & my brother came in for a little while just to laugh at me – cheers bro! At that point I had a contraction & screamed that I didn’t think I could do this. It hurt too much & I needed that midwife I asked my brother to go & my sister Karen said it sounded like I still had a little while to go before the baby arrived. I felt quite relieved that Karen had arrived as she was so excited to see me give birth; the only live birth she had seen was during her nursing degree.
Just then I had another contraction & I really screamed my head off, I could feel a pushing sensation & again screamed for the midwife, screamed I couldn’t do it. Dave & my mum were rubbing my back telling me I could do it & not to scream because I would wake Alfie up but the pain was just very intense & painful. When the contraction was over Joanne told me that that contraction was quite a long one at a minute & 30 seconds & came 2 minutes after the last one. As the next contraction hit I could feel pressure & I screamed that it felt like I needed a poo, my mum told me that if I needed one to just do it as they would get it out with the net. At that point mid scream I felt my fore waters break & I screamed that my waters had gone, I heard Karen cheer lol! As the contraction ended I once again said I couldn’t do it, wanted the midwife, needed gas & air & that this baby was coming, I could feel it burning. I could see both my sisters in front of me, Joanne panicking looking white & Karen excited. The next contraction came, I could feel immense pressure, I could feel the baby moving down, it was the most amazing feeling I had ever felt yet the most painful. I screamed & pushed & the baby’s head was out. I screamed that the baby’s head was out, I didn’t think Dave, my mum or sisters believed me but Karen came & looked down & realised that it the head was out. She kind of changed at that point, nurse mode my mum called it. She went all serious, stripped off her coat & took off her jewellery & watch. Everyone else panicked! I hear my mum shout at Karen telling her that she would have to deliver this baby as she is the most qualified person. I heard Karen tell me that the cord was around the neck, I could feel her hand around the baby’s head, I asked the time, I asked if the baby was under the water & Karen said yes, she told me to put my hands down & feel the baby’s head which I did, it felt like the most softest velvet. I heard her tell Dave to come & look as the baby was looking up at her. Then Karen told me that on the next contraction, when the body was born that she would push the baby between my legs & to get the baby & sit back up.
I could feel the next contraction coming & started to scream & push. Everyone was telling me to breath, not scream. Karen told me to pant & not to push. I felt the baby come out & I picked him up, Karen was telling me to sit back & bring the baby up, when I did he cried. Again I asked the time. 1.10am. Karen was shouting to my mum & Joanne to get something to clamp & cut the cord. I screamed that I didn’t want it doing yet & she was saying that she had to. Dave phoned the hospital back to tell them that baby was born & they told him to leave the cord until the midwifes arrived (thank god because I wanted delayed cord clamping until the placenta had delivered).
The atmosphere in the room was electric, baby looked just like Alfie when he was born but so much smaller. I think I was in a state of shock, I couldn’t believe this had just happened. It wasn’t until everyone asked what he was that we looked & saw that baby is a boy! We were all so shocked as we all honestly thought that he was a girl but I really didn’t care what he was as long as he was ok.
It was at this point that I felt quite a large gush & the water turn red & I panicked. Dave was still on the phone to the hospital & he told them I was bleeding. They said it is normal but I was still quite worried as quite a few more gushes came out & turned the water in the pool a lovely shade of shark attack red!
The hospital told Dave that they had phoned for the emergency response car which promptly turned up & a paramedic guy came in to make sure we were ok. He was talking to me but didn’t really do much, I was quite thankful for the colour of the pool then ha-ha! The contractions then started again, they hurt L I never got contractions for the afterbirth with Alfie, just the urge to push & it came out in two contractions so to feel pain again shocked me. An ambulance turned up at this point & two ambulance paramedics came in. The contractions kept coming & were just as painful, I was once again shouting for the midwife for some gas & air they hurt that bad. The ambulance paramedic asked if I wanted some & I said yes. They hurt so much I did ask Dave who was next to me whether there might be another one in there, it really did cross my mind at that point that they may well be. I kind of started to panic again at that point at the thought of another one & having to go through the pain of giving birth again. The female paramedic asked me how many scans I had & mid contraction, feeling woozy from the gas & air, I’d said 2, then I realised I’d actually had 4 & said as such. I stopped panicking after that as I realised that they would have picked up on twins on at least one scan. All the while I was holding my gorgeous baby. Between the contractions I couldn’t help but look at him still in shock that he was a he & not a she, I was trying not to put pressure on the cord as the slightest movement felt awful.
After a little while & a few more contractions I suddenly got the urge to push again, the feeling was very different from giving birth to Alfie’s placenta, his felt like it flopped out of me like a pancake. This felt more like a fluid filled ball. I felt it detach & my body push it out but it sort of just stayed between my legs, a very strange feeling. I was sat on my legs at this point & didn’t dare move.
At about 1.25-1.30am the first midwife turned up closely followed by the second. They quickly got to work clamping the cord which by this time had completely drained of blood & had turned white so I was quite happy for them to clamp it & Dave cut the cord. The second midwife offered me the injection to stop bleeding, I had put on my birth plan that I didn’t want it but as the placenta was already out I decided to accept it as I was quite worried about the amount of blood that had come out all ready. I thought it can’t hurt to have it just in case. The first midwife asked for a towel for the baby & I handed him to Dave so that I could have the shot & get out of the pool, I was getting quite cold so was glad to get out & the pool was disgustingly red with awful big blood clots in the bottom . I watched the midwife remove the placenta, place it on a sheet on the floor next to the pool & check it over, she struggled to get blood from it to send off to check baby’s blood type as am RH. negative.
Our house felt extremely full what with 2 midwifes, 1 emergency response paramedic, 2 ambulance paramedics, my two sisters, my mum, my niece & then my brother who turned up not long after the midwifes, I really do not know how Alfie did not wake up through all this.
I got out of the pool with the help of the midwife, I felt very light headed & quite shaky on my legs, I went & sat on the sofa in the living room & I asked my sister for a banana. The baby was been fussed over in the kitchen by my mum, niece, brother & sisters while the midwifes checked me over. I had a second degree tear but refused to have it stitched, the midwifes were trying to get me to have stitches but I’d rather it heal naturally on its own. They determined that I was fine & sent the paramedics on their way.
Dave brought the baby in & the midwife checked him over, 10 fingers, 10 toes, a head circumference of 32cm & weight of 6lb 6oz, pure perfection. After the midwife checked him over Dave dressed him in his blue baby grow while I had a cup of tea & tried to come round a bit. Everyone had their picture taken with the new arrival & then I gave him his first feed which he took beautifully. Not long after this my mum, sisters, niece & brother left & it was just myself, Dave & the two midwifes.
The midwifes went through the paperwork asking me 10 ton of questions, stuff that they would normally be asking during labour, some answers just had to be guessed at. The midwifes wanted me to have a bath or shower, I was still feeling red hot & quite shaky but decided I would try & have a shower. One of the midwifes & Dave helped me up the stairs which felt like climbing a mountain & took ages. The shower didn’t make me feel good at all, it felt good to be clean but it made me feel more dizzy, light headed & shaky than I already was. I went back downstairs to my baby & the midwifes trying to make me an appointment for the next day at the hospital to see the pediatrician.
The midwifes left round 4am & we went up to bed, I didn’t sleep much but managed to get some rest before Alfie woke up.
Alfie came in around 8am, the baby in the cot at the side of me he didn’t notice at first. He jumped over me in his usual way, snuggled in between me & Dave wanting me to give him his usual cuddles & kisses. He then looked in the cot but it must have not registered straight away that something was there, then he looked over me again & realised that the baby was there. He looked & said baby baby & seemed very excited to see him. He wanted a real good look but wouldn’t touch him at all, when he realised he didn’t do anything he lost interest & wanted his morning cuddles like normal. We spent a little while in bed together before Alfie wanted breakfast & we got up to our first day of a new family of 4.
I’m very happy I managed to get the home birth I wanted & it made it even more special that my sister got to not only see me give birth but to actually deliver my baby. It took us quite a few days to name our little boy; I had quite a few girls names picked out but no boys names. I knew then that I would be giving him a name to honour my sister who helped bring him safely in to this world. It took me a while to figure out how to make Karen in to masculine form but ended up going with Kieren as a middle name.
Alister has been an amazing baby, much more relaxed & contented, such a contrast to his big brother. It’s been a hard adjustment for Alfie now been a big brother, but I’m sure over time he will come round & they will become the best of friends (I hope).
I’ll definitely be having a home birth next time, it was a wonderful experience but would much rather have midwifes present & some gas & air though I think I coped pretty well without it. I’d recommend home birth to everyone, there is nothing better than birthing your baby in the comfort of your own home surrounded by loved ones.